Skip to main content

The Traffic Police Matatu Uniform Act

A lot has changed along Tom Mboya street in downtown Nairobi. It's not the hawkers who occupy the pavement and who will pick up a quarrel with you if you stand in front of their wares showing no intent to purchase them. It does not occur to them that you have the right to be on the pavement Its even worse when you step their wares when trying to avoid one of those Nairobi Jay Walkers. One thing about hawkers though, don't purchase any clothing item at night. You will end up with a pink sweater, like the one am wearing as I type this, while what you had intended was a beautiful cream one. Credit this to the yellow street lights , which if you forgot your science classes , produce other colors when mixed with actual colors.

The changes along Tom Mboya street also have nothing to do with it been a street where any Tom, Dick and Harry can try out their U turn and 3 point motoring skills. It's hard to cross this street as it is quite impossible to predict the general flow of traffic along the street.Motorists may be speeding along the wrong side of the road, driving along the middle bank that divides the lanes or doing illegal U turns and 3 point turns anywhere along the street.
Matatus
However, the changes have something to do with colours and matatus. A matatu, or those who aren't Kenyans or Ugandans are several seater vehicles that ply to and fro between two points picking and dropping passengers along the way. (P.S. I dont sit on the Oxford Dictionary committee). The change is in the colour of the matatus.

According to the police, it is a change they believe in. Before, depending on the competition , the number of youthful population of the destination and the amount of dispensable income for the destination served, some routes had matatus that were quite colourful consisting several colours , graffiti and vehicle body modification. Routes 58 (BuruBuru), 9 (Eastleigh), 111 (Ngong) and 23 (Outering) were known or their colourful matatus , graced with high power music systems, several video screens and they were all the rage with the youth. Youth boarded matatus just for the entertainment taking a round trip(or even several), and some even waited hours on end for specific matatus. There was(is) even a Facebook group and the followers even knew which matatus were off the road or repairs.

But that was until the Nairobi Traffic Department of the Kenya Police decided to bring their school system thinking into the system. The police decided that the bribes they take, their ill equipped traffic policemen who run after rule flouters with rubber batons, lack of a clear policy on traffic lights, fact that some matatus are owned & protected by police is not to blame for the unruliness on the road, especially from matatus.

Our very bright police officers have blamed it on the several colours painted on the matatus, and their music systems. A directive was then passed and enorced that all matatus have one colour and stop playing loud music.

As it defeats me how the police decided passengers cant choose matatus that fit their music tastes (from none to loud), the re-coloured single coloured matatus are now worse than ever. This single-colored, silent matatus now accomplish stunts that their multi-coloured , music playing counterparts were not known for.

A single coloured, silent matatu can now climb trees, drive in trenches, make multiple U and 3 point turns along any Nairobi street and drive on any side of the road as long as traffic is lesser on that side. If the sincle coloured, silent matatu encounters a rubber-batoned armed police officer, tie in the muddy seat belt as the matatu ramps up the pavement and even up stairs.

matatu's as they should look in the Traffic Police Uniform Act

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Nairobi's Top 4 Texas Brisket Places Reviewed and Ranked

Brisket on a bed of roast vegetables with barbecue sauce at Texas Brisket, Kikuyu  This review has been updated after a number of you suggested I try the brisket at County2County.  What's the best place to have Brisket in Nairobi? What's even brisket?  Brisket is one of the toughest cuts in a cow, from around the belly. It is so tough that it has to be smoked for about 16 hours to tenderise. But that there, is the catch.  12 to 16 hours later, it is the most flavourful and softest cut you will ever have. So full of flavour and so soft you can pick it apart with your fingers.  However, due to the long cooking time involved, only a few places offer brisket in Nairobi.  The best so far is Texas Brisket which is located within Kikuyu Railway station.  They do the meat for a proper 16 hours, and will usually have a fatty or non-fatty portion. The fatty portions are more tasty. A 500 gram serving goes for KSh. 900 and a 1 KG order comes with a serving of free fries. Their brisket has

5 Kenyan Holiday Destinations in Turkana and Rift Valley

Much local holiday travel in Kenya involves going to the Coast. If not the Coast, most holidayers end up in Nanyuki or Naivasha. But what if you wanted to go somewhere else, what are the alternatives?  An interesting itinerary would be Lake Turkana, through the Kerio Valley and Kerio Escarpment. This is a trip doable both by public transport or as a self-drive. Given the distance, it takes at least 2 days by road - though it's manageable in one day if you have 2 drivers.  However, it would be more fun if you explored different destinations on your way up and back, which I'll highlight below.  1. Iten - Kerio Valley and Kerio Escarpment The Kerio Valley is a breathtaking valley within the Rift Valley, with the Elgeyo/ Kerio Escarpment forming one boundary of the Rift Valley and the Tugen Hills forming the other. The Tugen Hills are within the Rift Valley and one of the oldest features on the planet. The Kerio River flows in between falling over the esca

The bitter story of the downfall of Mumias Sugar company

A spoonful of sugar, but for who? ( Image: Carol Wallis on Flickr ) Have you heard the bitter story of Mumias Sugar? Regarded by many as Kenya's most successful sugar miller, Mumias Sugar Company was a disaster waiting to happen. Many pointed out how Mumias Sugar Company was a fortress in the wreck that is Kenya's sugar industry, only unaware that it was just a matter of time. As the old wise men said, "Ukiona cha mwenzako cha nyolewa, tia chako maji". The proverb means that if you see your neighbour's head getting shaved, your head will soon be undergoing the same - you'd therefore better wet your head for a smoother shave, otherwise you will be forced to undergo a painful, dry, shave. But what ails Kenya's sugar industry? The Kenya sugar industry is under legal siege. The typical Kenyan issue of coming up with laws to tackle a problem is evident here. Many of Kenya's sugar factories are owned by the government, and have slowly decline

Why we loved Mixcrate and Where to next?

With Mixcrate gone, lovers of music either have to pony up a fee for a variety of streaming services or head over to YouTube There are two types of music listeners: those who listen by artist or by album, and those who listen by top hits. The second lot of us do not care much about what other music made it to an album besides the top 2 hits. Mixcrate served the second lot of us very well. You could search for a song title or an artist, and you would have dozens of DJ mixes to choose from which contained more than the one hit you searched for. Listening to music on Mixcrate also meant that once you settled into a mix, you had uninterrupted music for the next one hour.

Kenyan products: The art of punishing your consumer

This post was written in 2011. Facts may have and indeed have changed - but the conclusion has not.  Dormans instant coffee tastes better than Sasini instant coffee. Ramtons electronics are manufactured for Kenya's Hypermart Limited, yet maintain a high product quality Peanut butter used to taste so good, but you could not afford it on the pocket money that you got back in school. A few years later, you have your first real job and your first "disposable" income. You buy your first real tub of peanut butter, probably the first in your life. You feel proud that Dominion peanut butter is manufactured in Ruiru, a town that you visited in your campus days to withdraw your pocket money, it was the nearest bank ATM to your campus.  This was before Equity bank became a mainstream bank and decided to open an ATM in your campus, and before M-Pesa meant that you